Maker of Pocky reminds us that life moves fast, but it’s the slow moments that make it beautiful.
Many times, Japanese commercials are designed around a single star. You get a famous, good-looking idol or domestic actor, or maybe a charming foreign celebrity, point the camera at them, and let them be their photogenic selves.
But an ad from Japanese confectioner Glico, that’s as tear-jerking as it is jaw-dropping, goes the completely opposite route, taking its lead role and divvying it up between 72 different actresses. Why 72? Because the average life expectancy in Japan is 71.8 years, and so the video, titled 71.8-Second Life, swaps in a new actress every second (once its time-flow gets underway at the 0:14 mark), with each woman representing a different year of life.
Now you might be thinking this is something like those now-cliched projects where someone puts together a photo series of a person standing in the same spot, with a different image taken every year. Glico went above and beyond that, though, as the woman (well, women, actually) in the ad steps, skips, spins, and strides about for the duration of her accelerated life. The casting director did a remarkable job selecting actresses who, at least compared to the women who come directly before and after, look like they really could be the same person, just a year younger or older. For each second of screen time, the producers say it took roughly an hour to set up and synchronize the shot.
We see a baby learn to walk, a girl learn to smile, and a young lady learn to love, as the woman meets her husband-to-be, gets married, and has children of her own.
Time marches on, and before we know it, her kids have kids, as the star becomes a grandmother.
But while we’re definitely seeing the happy highlight reel of this woman’s life, the video doesn’t shy away from the fact that our time in this world is limited, and in her final appearance, the woman passes away, with a peaceful look on her face after having lived a full life filled with happy memories made with family and friends.
Each and every actress in the lead role is actually the same age as she’s portraying, from the not-yet-one infant to the second-year septuagenarian who closes out the parade of life.
Along the way, a handful of Glico items show up. The young girl’s dad gives her a snack of Bisco cookies. The newlyweds and their friends share a couple boxes of Pocky. Grandma sits down with her daughter and granddaughter to eat some Bifix yogurt.
More so than “eat Glico products” though, the video’s message seems to be that life is short, but also beautiful, with the rapidly aging protagonist contrasted with a relaxed, soothing song that reminds us that precisely because there’s no way to stop the flow of time, it’s important to spend it with people we love.